Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

On why me and funerals are unmixy things

Written By: Tracy - Apr• 12•09

I cry at weddings and I laugh at funerals.  I know that it’s a little weird, but what do you do?  I can’t exactly stop going to funerals.

This thought comes about because the other day, my second cousin passed on.  He was my grandmother’s nephew, and in a small community such as ours, you know all your cousins.  And when one of them passes, you go to the funeral and you sit on he row with the rest of your immediate family and everyone knows exactly how you were related.

My immediate family — My mother, both my aunts and my grandma — are not the people you want at your funeral. All put together we are known as those noisy, boisterous vivacious Taylor girls (Taylor being my grandmother’s married name, the Sisters and mother’s maiden names and my sister and I are just guilty by association).

So there we sat.  On the end: My grandma.  With her hearing aid up so loud that you could hear the feedback across the room.  If you want to whisper something to her, she’ll turn and say "What?" at the top of her voice.  Sitting between her and me is the youngest aunt.  Who is falling asleep and snoring loudly.  I’m trying not to laugh, and my mom on the other side of me is whispering in my ear about how she hopes that the funearal dosen’t take long because she had too much coffee and really needs to find a bathroom. (My sister couldn’t get off work, so she missed this insanity).

On my mom’s other side, the oldest of my aunts is quiet and dignified.  Maybe it’s an older sibling thing.  Or maybe it’s because she’s had the foresight to put her husband in between her and my mom, so there isn’t anyone to talk to.

And then, one of my great-grandma’s brothers (or possibly nephews, I can’t remember) gets up to speak.  He’s a 190 year old Baptist preacher who likes to preach that Olde Tyme religion (they call it fire and brimstone preaching, but today it’s kind of minus the fire and brimstone.  It’s dry and boring and I remember why I like going to my Assembly of God church with the pastor who makes jokes and gives me things to write down and isn’t trying to scare me onto the straight and narrow.
And then things are worse because my aunt is snoring on my shoulder, and my mom is whispering too-loudly that she thinks that the pastor has lost his place and started all over again from the beginning and wayyyy up at the front of the family section, another second cousin is glaring at us.  But I think it may be because she wishes she were back here in the back where we’re actually having more fun than she is on the front row.

And then I’m laughing.  I lean over so that my hair covers my face, and I put my hands on my chin. 

And then someone pats my back, trying to make me feel better or something.  Because all they can see is my shoulders shaking and they think I’m crying.  And I feel *worse* because of that.

And then, thankfully, it’s over.  Mom runs for the restroom while i’m shaking my aunt awake and my grandma is shouting "Where is your mom going?"

I think maybe next time I’ll just send a card.

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